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U.S. Hands Off North Korea! (english)
by STEVE ARGUE
Email: SteveArgue2 (nospam) yahoo.com
31 Aug 2003
With Over 7,000 Civilians Killed in the U.S./British War on Iraq and thousands more civilians dead in Afghanistan,
War Crazed Imperialists Scope Out Next Victims!
U.S. Hands Off North Korea!
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By STEVE ARGUE
The U.S. government has declared its “right” to “pre-emptive” attacks on any country at any time. On November 16th 2001 U.S.-Vice President Dick Chaney said that up to 50 countries could be targeted for financial, diplomatic, or military attack. He warned, “It’s a war that may last a lifetime.”
Death and destruction coupled with attempts at imposing unpopular U.S. puppet governments on the people of Afghanistan and Iraq make a fearful world ask “Who’s next?”
If George Bush Junior’s comments calling Iraq, North Korea, and Iran the “axis of evil’ before the war on Iraq are any indication, North Korea has reason to fear U.S. aggression.
Earlier this year, facing these provocations from the U.S. North Korean President Kim Jong Il scrapped nuclear treaties that had never been honored by the U.S. anyway. The U.S. has responded to North Korea by conducting provocative military maneuvers and organizing the “negotiations” that just concluded in Beijing. The governments of Russia, South Korea, Japan, and China participated in these talks where the U.S. made clear its intentions of carrying out an economic blockade against North Korea if the North does not scrap its nuclear program. Yet from the outset North Korea made clear its intention to continue to build a nuclear deterrent to defend itself from U.S. aggression and announced that it intends to test nuclear devices. In response to U.S. threats of an economic blockade North Korea has responded that such an action would be an act of war.
The U.S. goal of a stable government in Afghanistan that can protect profits from a projected pipeline for Central Asian oil is far from achieved. Likewise the U.S. occupation of Iraq has turned into the quagmire for U.S. imperialism that was predicted by the anti-war movement before the invasion. Yet the U.S. is now moving towards yet another human disaster on the Korean Peninsula under the pretext of nuclear weapons.
The United States, the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons, incinerating the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has also threatened their use against North Korea. In 1951, in the midst of the U.S. invasion of Korea that killed 4 million Koreans, the U.S. carried out an operation called “Hudson Harbor” where they dispatched a lone B52 bomber to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. This flight was a mock nuclear attack meant to strike terror into the hearts of the Korean people. In addition, U.S. General MacArthur who led the brutal attack on Korea called the Korean War also argued for the annihilation of Korea in the winter of 1951 with “between 30 and 50 atomic bombs”.
In addition to nuclear weapons the U.S. government has been spreading radiation from weapons made out of radioactive wastes (DU).
The U.S. military uses DU in various weapons such as armor-piercing bullets, casings for bombs, shielding on tanks, counter weights and ground penetrators on missiles, fragments that penetrate armor, and anti-personnel mines.
Depleted Uranium (DU), which contains uranium 238 as well as other isotopes, is not depleted of its radiation. In fact, DU is a waste product of the nuclear power industry and has to be stored as deadly radioactive waste when it’s not used by the arms industry. The use of DU by the military has now turned what once had to stored at a loss into a source of profits for the capitalists. Besides containing uranium 238, DU has also contains other more deadly radioactive isotopes. These other isotopes include highly radioactive materials such as plutonium 239 which is 200,000 times more radioactive than uranium-238.
On impact DU has the pyrophoric ability to burn through the steel of tanks and allow explosives to blow up the tank’s occupants. As DU burns, according to the U.S. military’s own studies, 70% is vaporized. The vapor then turns to a radioactive dust which then settles into the soil, water, clothing, or into the lungs of anyone who breaths it in.
DU ammunition was used in the first U.S. war against Iraq and has been heavily used in the latest war against Iraq as well. It was also used, in lesser amounts, in the U.S. wars against Yugoslavia (Kosovo and Bosnia) and in Afghanistan. DU has also poisoned the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques and many other sights where the U.S. military has used it in testing.
Europeans have been supplied with a lot more information on DU than the American people. Germans were outraged to find out that DU had been tested in their country. Italy pulled its so-called “peace-keeping” troops out of Kosovo due to leukemia deaths among their troops attributed to DU radiation from the U.S. attack. Women in Yugoslavia were warned after the U.S. war to colonize Kosovo not to have children for the next ten years because of the risk of birth defects.
A commission of the UN has called the military use of DU a weapon of mass destruction and called for banning its use.
After the first U.S. war against Iraq the London Guardian sent reporters to southern Iraq who found radiation levels 30 times normal background radiation in the battlefields of the Gulf War. On tanks destroyed by DU tank busting A-10 ammunition the radiation level was 50 times higher than normal.
This radiation has already entered the Iraqi water, food supply, natural food chain, and human bodies with a resulting increase in cancers, birth defects, and other radiation caused illness and death.
For the most part the U.S. government also has not informed U.S. soldiers of the deadly materials that they were and are being exposed to, nor did they supply them with the protective suits they need. 250,000 U.S. soldiers came home from the first U.S. war on Iraq reporting to veteran’s hospitals with the symptoms of radiation poisoning. Those sets of conditions became known as the Persian Gulf War Syndrome.
The U.S. military brass knew what the soldiers had been exposed to but denied they knew anything. Their own studies before the first Gulf War pointed to dangerous levels of radiation from DU. Yet they pretended to know nothing about the radiation poisoning and the American corporate media has, for the most part, kept the American people in the dark about DU.
Just as the U.S. government knowingly exposed U.S. soldiers and the Vietnamese people to the extremely toxic effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam they now knowingly expose U.S. soldiers, U.S. arms industry workers, Iraqis, Yugoslavians, Puerto Ricans, Afghanis, Germans, and Americans near testing areas to deadly radiation from DU.
Iraqi hospital cancer wards are already filled with children dying from childhood leukemia. According to the British Guardian the number of extreme birth defects in one town in southern Iraq are so high that nobody dares to try to have children. In the latest war, Iraqi troops were out-gunned but fought valiantly. The U.S. destroyed Iraqi tanks with DU nuclear warfare to win the war quickly. U.S. soldiers and civilians have already started to die from this new radiation that has been dumped into the Iraqi environment.
The use of such a weapon of mass destruction gives lie to any concern the U.S. government claims to have for the American people or the victims of U.S. wars in other countries. The terrorists who killed innocent civilians in the September 11 attacks are cut from the same cloth as the better financed terrorists now occupying Afghanistan and Iraq (the U.S. military). In fact, Osama bin Laden was trained and financed by the U.S. government, and like the U.S. government he sees targeting innocent civilians for death as acceptable.
“Liberated” Iraq is now a deadly radioactive waste dump under the control of a capitalist government hell-bent on U.S. oil profits. If the U.S. succeeds in its long-term goals of oil privatization, no longer will any of the profits made off of Iraqi oil go towards health care, education, and subsidized food. Like the U.S.’s close allies, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the oil profits will go only to the capitalists. Let this be warning to the people in countries like Venezuela, Libya, and Iran who use nationalized oil to benefit their people that the U.S. will continue to have them in their targets as well and they must be prepared to fight.
U.S. Hands Off North Korea!
While the U.S. government has carried out a war spreading radiation that will not go away on the Iraqi people, they have called North Korea part of the “axis of evil” and are arrogantly asserting that North Korea does not have the right to defend themselves from U.S. attack with nuclear weapons even as members of the Bush administration speak openly of war against North Korea.
In response to the aggressive nature of U.S. imperialism and its threats aimed at North Korea, North Korean President Kim Jung Il has paraded the capabilities of the North Korean armed forces and declared that their million-person army is prepared to fight a U.S. invasion. In addition, in January 2003 North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty with the Korean Central News Agency stating, “We have realized that as long as the United States does not abandon its hostile policy against the North, efforts to keep the Korean Peninsula nuclear free [are] nothing more than an illusion. We will further boost our already mighty military power.”
The U.S. never allowed independent inspections of whether or not the U.S. actually withdrew Nuclear weapons in 1992 anyway, and they have kept nuclear bombers and submarines within striking distance of North Korea as well. In addition, as the last decade of U.S. wars have shown, all U.S. wars are now spread deadly radiation.
On August 28th North Korea announced its intention of testing nuclear weapons. Socialists defend and support the right of North Korea to possess nuclear weapons for their own defense against the deadly arrogant militarism of U.S. imperialism. Yet it is sad that possession of such deadly weapons (deadly in their production, testing, and use) have become necessary for third world countries to maintain their independence from U.S. imperialism.
While the whole world has suffered as a result of the murderous policies of U.S. imperialism, the Korean people have, like a number of other peoples including the American Indians, faced a U.S. imposed holocaust. In what Americans call the “Korean War” more than four million people died as a result of the U.S. invasion and war against the Korean people from 1950 to 1953.
Japan had been the colonial occupiers of the Korean peninsula for 35 years prior to their defeat in World War 2. Anti-colonial resistance to the Japanese occupation succeeded in establishing the communist government in North Korea in 1945. In the south of Korea the U.S. moved in and set up a capitalist police state. The repressive police of the Japanese occupation of Korea were recruited by the U.S. occupiers and used in an attempt to keep the South Korean people down for U.S. imperialism.
In 1950 a massive peasant revolt against the U.S. puppet government swept South Korea. North Korea responded to the peasant uprising and the intolerable puppet government in the south by sending in troops in to reunify their country. In the South the North Korean armed forces were greeted as liberators by the peasants.
The U.S. responded to this extension of the Korean revolution to the whole nation with the saturation bombings of Korean cities, the use of napalm, attacks on irrigation dams in order to cause flooding, and the slaughter of countless unarmed civilians. Over four million people were murdered in this U.S. attempt to prevent the Korean people from deciding their own government. In addition the U.S. attempted to expand the war from Korea into China in order to try to destroy the 1949 Chinese communist revolution led by Mao Tse-tung, but the Chinese quickly drove the U.S. out of China.
With the help of Chinese troops that came as a result of the U.S. attack on China the Korean War ended in a stalemate. North of the 38th parallel the Communist government led by Kim Il Sung was established under the military encirclement of the U.S. imperialists and a starvation embargo. South of the 38th parallel the U.S. set up a capitalist dictatorship backed by the continuing presence 37,000 U.S. troops.
In 1980 U.S. forces orchestrated the bloody Kwangju massacre where an insurrectionary revolt of the working class was put down by the U.S. backed South Korean dictatorship with tanks and the lives of 2,000 people.
In fact, the South Korean government was an open military dictatorship from the time the U.S. established it up until 1987, when the militant labor movement forced reforms that began to free some political prisoners and forced the capitalists to hold elections. Still, the U.S. backed government of South Korea is one that presently jails socialists for publishing banned books and for their participation in the union movement. Political freedoms to dissent are extremely restricted in the North as well.
Aware of the role played by the U.S. occupiers in their country, hundreds of thousands of South Koreans protested in December 2002 demanding U.S. troops get out. Protesters have also shown sympathy for the North. A December 28th, 2002 New York Times article quotes a protester saying, “If North Korea would be threatened by the United States with nuclear weapons, North Korea can also have them.”
While the pro-war Democrat Party of the U.S. points out the supposed danger of North Korea, with some having even proposed war on North Korea as the alternative to war on Iraq, socialists defend North Korea’s right to national self-determination and demand U.S. hands off North Korea.
Despite being implemented by a dictatorial regime, the collectivized planned economy of North Korea has benefited the people. The socialist planning in North Korea built up a modern industrial base that out-performed the south up until the mid 1970s. In addition the inability of U.S. imperialism to conquer the North Korean revolution also strengthened the hand of worker’s movements throughout Asia and the world.
Today the economies of both North and South Korea are in bad shape.
During the cold war the U.S. and Japan aided the South Korean economy in order keep it afloat and to try to prevent conditions that may have led to the revolutionary reunification of Korea. That has now changed. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 hit the South Korean economy hard, but when the South Korean capitalist class turned to the U.S. and Japan asking for a bailout they were denied. With the Soviet Union gone priorities have shifted and the U.S. and Japan no longer want to prop up the South Korean capitalists because they also see them as economic competitors.
North Korea’s economy is even more desperate than that of the South. While facing an economic blockade from U.S. and Japanese imperialism, North Korea lost its biggest trading partner with the capitalist counter-revolution that took place in the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1992 China betrayed the North Korean working class by cutting off shipments of cheap oil as a concession to South Korea in order to gain trade and diplomatic relations. The lack of fuel oil has disrupted the production of electricity. As a result much of the North Korean economy has collapsed including steel production because of the lack of electricity. In 1995 North Korea began to be hit extremely hard by a series of natural disasters that have caused extreme famine. About 11 million people, out of a population of 22 million, are malnourished.
The Chinese Communist Party’s betrayal of the North Korean working class in exchange for trade with South Korea flows directly from their adherence to Stalin’s Theory of Socialism in One Country. This was a theory in which Stalin broke from the earlier policy of revolutionary internationalism held by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky in order for Stalin to gain trade relations with the capitalist countries. This policy of betrayal of the workers for trade with capitalist countries, a policy also adopted by Mao and Fidel Castro, was the thinking behind many betrayals. These ranged from the Chinese attempted invasion of Communist Vietnam to Castro’s support for the capitalist Mexican government when it gunned down leftist students in 1968, to Stalin’s betrayals of the Spanish, German, Greek, and Chinese revolutions as well as his misdirection of the U.S. Communist Party, getting them to support the capitalist Democrat Party as the supposed “lesser of two evils” rather than supporting the building of an independent party of the working class.
While some may consider such policies pragmatic in a world dominated by the capitalist market, the short-term gains of these betrayals, and others, destroyed potential trade with new revolutionary nations.
It says much about the superiority of the socialist economic model that the poor and isolated Soviet Union was able to build up a strong economy that met the people’s needs. This was true despite the Soviet economy being twice destroyed, first by the invasion of the U.S. and many other imperialist countries directly after the 1917 revolution, and secondly with the Nazi invasion of World War Two. More impressive is that an industrial economy was built without the economic imperialism that created the wealth of the advanced capitalist nations of the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan. Many forget that the wealth and obscene consumption of the world’s resources that the U.S. likes to parade and pretend was ordained by god has arisen largely from the super exploitation and miserable poverty imperialism has inflicted on the people of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere in the so-called third world. While the advanced capitalist countries do not meet the needs of the people, the full failure of capitalism can be seen in the “third world” colonies run by the IMF and World Bank, controlled by the U.S. military and by the armed forces of the smaller local capitalist classes.
Likewise the current situation in the former Soviet Union is a lesson in the negative. Since Yeltsin’s capitalist counter-revolution in 1991 all indicators of a decent standard of living have dropped. These indicators include life expectancy, infant mortality, income, and literacy.
In the face of the current economic crisis the North Korean leadership has, however, made important mistakes by introducing market reforms that have negated some of the advantages of the socialist economy. Despite facing famine, food rationing has been eliminated. Such food rationing prevented famine from occurring in Cuba in their worst days of economic crisis in the mid 1990s following the fall of the Soviet Union. In addition profiteering off of speculation has been legalized in North Korea with a 550 percent rise in the price of rice. Housing rents and utility charges have also been introduced.
The North Korean government is also promoting two Chinese style free trade zones where foreign capitalists are free to invest and exploit workers. While some may argue that these free trade zones are a necessary act of desperation on the part of the North Korean government, they are also a major step towards the destruction of the socialist economy. Cuba, facing a similar situation as North Korea with the destruction of the Soviet Union, has been able to gain foreign investment for projects that have helped the Cuban economy, but they have done it with strict controls on worker’s exploitation coupled with the controlling ownership of the projects remaining in Cuban hands.
Ultimately an essential ingredient needed for Cuba and North Korea to break out of their economic isolation is the world socialist revolution. Possibilities that would have a major impact include a socialist revolution in a more advanced capitalist country and/or a political revolution in China that preserves the Chinese socialist system built out of the 1949 revolution. Today preserving socialism in China includes extending it into the free trade zones with the nationalization of foreign capitalists and bringing back socialist agricultural policies destroyed by the privatization of agriculture carried out by Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s, a policy that has devastated most of the peasantry and only enriched a few. In addition a national health care plan would have to be implemented to respond to the fact that the earlier socialist health care system was tied to work units such as factories, schools, and people's communes and has disintegrated with China’s market reforms. To carry out these revolutionary socialist changes will mean breaking the power of the brutal Chinese Communist Party and instituting real worker’s democracy and trade union rights combined with instituting an internationalist policy of world socialist revolution.
As with North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam the program for political revolution in China to bring about real worker’s democracy and better policies for the promotion of international socialism also includes the defense of these revolutions in the face of imperialist attack and their defense against internal capitalist counter-revolution.
Adding to North Korea’s economic problems has been their understandable fear of a U.S. attack. George Bush’s statements about North Korea being part of the “axis of evil” and the Bush administration’s bold statements discussing the possibilities of war with North Korea have, as has the presence of 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea, forced President Kim Jong Il to continue to put a large amount of North Korea’s resources into the military. Blame for this rests on the shoulders of U.S. imperialism, not with Kim Jung Il.
Another potential U.S. war on the Korean peninsula is a war that must be stopped. It should be the right of the Korean people to decide their own government without U.S. intervention, as it should be the right of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq to decide their own future as well.
While many who have participated in the anti-war movement in the streets are looking towards electing Democrats as the solution to the latest rash of imperialist wars, the Democrats have an even harder line on North Korea than Bush. In fact Clinton’s former Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, counter-posed an attack on North Korea to the planned U.S. attack on Iraq stating, “The threats from North Korea and from international terrorism are more imminent”. This has been the line of other Democrats as well.
The Peace and Freedom Party, a socialist party with 80,000 registered members in the state of California, represents the beginning of a unified socialist movement that can challenge the capitalist warmongers in a meaningful way. It is essential that the Peace and Freedom Party be built further in California and established across the U.S. as a step towards ending all imperialist wars through socialist revolution in the United States. It is to these causes that the Revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg Club of the Peace and Freedom Party (RRLC-PFP) is dedicated. Join us!
Resist imperialism in the streets, in the barracks, in the factories, and on the docks!
U.S. Troops Out Of Korea! U.S. Hands Off The North!
U.S. and British Troops Out Of Iraq and Afghanistan!
End U.S. and British imperialism through socialist revolution!
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